If you have a yearning to get off-the-beaten-path and enjoy a festival with salmon-jammin’ flair, the Copper River Salmon Jam in Cordova, Alaska is calling your name! This festival takes place every July and it is all about celebrating what sustains Cordova: Salmon and Art.
A wild food cook-off, running races, free family-fun activities, music workshops, dumpster painting, art vendors, a salmon barbecue, beer garden, and live music highlight the two-day celebration of Copper River salmon. It’s the perfect time to visit Cordova, which is off the road system but can be easily reached by a 35-minute plane ride from Anchorage or a ferry trip departing from Whittier or Valdez.
The picturesque fishing community of Cordova is surrounded by the tranquil bays, majestic mountain peaks, mysterious forests, and sweeping glaciers. During the day, festival goers can participate in the family-friendly fun at the free Small Fry afternoon, race in the Alaska Salmon Runs, or strike out on their own to explore Cordova’s endless trails, kayak, or visit Sheridan Glacier. Enthusiastic adventure seekers might even consider extending their stay beyond the festival to take it all in!
The party kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday with live music and vendors selling food and artwork. For those aged 21+ you can enjoy the scene and connect with the locals in the beer garden. Local acts open up Salmon Jam and out-of-town headline acts will close down the evening at midnight. All evening activities are held at the ski hill and you will be delighted with the views if you are lucky enough to see the sunset over Ocra Inlet as you dance your heart out. (There’s a shuttle to and from town).
Saturday begins bright and early with the Alaska Salmon Runs which includes distances ranging from marathon-length to one mile. Over 200 runners enter, with a quarter of the field from out of town. It’s a beautiful, wild course, crossing the Copper River Delta with views of glaciers, waterfowl, bald eagles and sometimes even moose and bears!! The fun continues in the afternoon with the free Small Fry education activities - learn how to make fish prints, enjoy salmon education games, watch live salmon filleting demonstrations, and eat homemade ice-cream. Then it’s the salmon barbecue, complete with fresh Copper River salmon, salad, sides, and a delicious cake, followed by even more food in the Taste of Cordova cook-off competition! The evening really gets rockin’ once the Salmon Jam musicians hit the stage for the second night!
From salmon to jammin’, it’s the perfect time to visit Cordova. Check for airfare discount codes and an up-to-date schedule of activities on the Copper River Salmon Jam Facebook or webpage.